Home > Parent Perspective, Preventable Diseases > Callie Cares Means We Will Never Forget

Callie Cares Means We Will Never Forget

callie_van_tornhoutCallie was considered a miracle baby. It took Katie and Craig Van Tornhout five years and four miscarriages before they finally welcomed their precious daughter Callie into their lives.

However, their joy turned to heartache three years ago today, when Callie died of pertussis at only five weeks of age.

On Monday, we remembered two infant boys, Carter and Brady, with our Two for Two Pertussis Protection Program as we asked our readers to help spread the word about the importance of adult Tdap boosters. Now, on the anniversary of Callie’s death, we want to remind our readers that these tragedies don’t just happen “one day”.  Sadly, vaccine preventable diseases are threatening the health of our children day after day.   And sometimes, as in Callie’s case, they strike quickly and leave us wondering how something so tragic could have happened.

After having the honor of meeting Katie and Craig last year, I can tell you that they are some very proud parents.  Callie is still very much a part of their lives and always will be.   Callie has an older brother named Cole, a younger sister Chesney, and another sibling on the way.  And you can bet that the Van Tornhout’s will ensure that anyone who wants to see their baby will be up-to-date on their Tdap booster.

CalliesCrusade

Katie volunteers to help increase pertussis awareness in her community.

They say that something good comes out of every sorrow and in the case of the Van Tornhout’s, I know this to be true.  I believe that what we do in the face of adversity can often provide a glimpse into our true character.  And the love the Van Tornhout’s show towards others goes far beyond the love they have for Callie.  To help turn a terrible situation into one of hope and love, the Van Tornhout’s created Callie’s Crusades, in which they help increase pertussis awareness in their community.

And since the Van Tornhout’s stayed at the Ronald McDonald House when Callie was in intensive care, they created an organization called Callie Cares to help other guests of the Ronald McDonald House.  Now it’s a family affair.  They do their part by gathering donations of travel size toiletries and assembling them into care bags for the guests.  Their care packages include everything from shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, lotion and anything else that may make for a more comfortable stay.

CallieCaresIf you would like to help Callie Cares and provide donations to the Ronald McDonald house, please inquire at shotofprevention@gmail.com so that we can put you in touch with the Van Tornhout family.

Hopefully, after reading Callie’s story it will be another reminder to explain the importance of adult Tdap booster shots to everyone who’ll listen.  Most people just don’t know that an adult Tdap booster shot can not only help protect them from pertussis, but it can also reduce the spread of a life-threatening illness for an infant child who is not yet fully vaccinated.

  1. Jean
    January 31, 2013 at 11:09 am

    We must never forget all the precious, beautiful babies who have died from pertussis. But neither should we forget all the equally precious babies who died from the pertussis vaccine. VAERS baby 187791 was three months old, and died five hours after getting the vaccine. Five month old baby 253739 was well the day she got the DTaP, then started vomiting, having diarrhea, spiked a fever, was given CPR, but died the following day. Six month old 150475 was healthy when he got the DTaP, but went into full cardiac arrest and died two days later. Two and a half year old 68561 got the DTaP, but that evening collapsed, went into cardiac arrest, and died. They, and thousands more like them, have died as a direct result of receiving the pertussis vaccine.

    Parents who wish to protect their children of all ages will quarantine their newborns at home to the best of their ability for the first four or five months of the baby’s life, the only period when he is at risk of dying from pertussis. Most of the over 30,000 people diagnosed with pertussis in the U.S. last year had been appropriately vaccinated, but, since the vaccine is not very effective, got the disease anyway. There were only twelve deaths, all of Hispanic newborns. Statistically, most of them caught the disease from appropriately vaccinated individuals. The only way to have protected them from catching the disease would have been quarantining them at home. Federal programs to facilitate keeping newborns at home with a single caregiver would do much more to protect all precious babies from dying of pertussis than pushing everyone to get frequent boosters of an often completely ineffective vaccine that remains very dangerous.

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  2. Gray Falcon
    January 31, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Jean, here’s a little basic mathematics for you: In a population of 100,000, 99% are vaccinated for a disease. The disease affects 90% of those unvaccinated, but only 2% of those vaccinated. For 99,000 vaccinated people, 1,980 come down with the disease. Of the 1000 not vaccinated, 900 come down with it. Thus, you have a scenario where more people who were vaccinated got the disease than those who weren’t, but the vaccine was nonetheless very effective, preventing over 80,000 cases of the disease.

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  3. Leigh S.
    January 31, 2013 at 11:50 am

    “Only” 12 deaths of Hispanic infants from pertussis, eh, Jean? “Only” 1 is too many, to my mind. Also, please provide valid citations for the statements “Most of the over 30,000 people diagnosed with pertussis in the U.S. last year had been appropriately vaccinated (NEEDS CITATION, especially given that you use the vague word “most”), but, since the vaccine is not very effective (NEEDS CITATION and/or definition of efficacy), got the disease anyway (NEEDS CITATION and/or qualification of “got the disease”–e.g., to what severity? were they hospitalized?)” and “Statistically, most of them caught the disease from appropriately vaccinated individuals” (NEEDS CITATION[S]). In a quick read of some data, I see that children who aren’t vaccinated have at least an eightfold greater risk for pertussis than children who are _fully vaccinated_ with DTaP (from Misegades LK, Winter K, Harriman K, Talarico J, Clark T, Martin SW. DTaP effectiveness: results from the California pertussis vaccine effectiveness assessment. In: Proceedings of the 49th Infectious Diseases Society of America; October 20–23, 2011; Boston, MA. Arlington, VA: Infectious Diseases Society of America; 2011 cited at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a1.htm)
    Finally, is any vaccine 100% effective? No. Apart from death, what is 100% effective against disease (any disease, all diseases)? Also, given the American healthcare system and general set-up of workplaces, is quarantining oneself to the home with one caregiver for the entire 6-9 months of an newborn/infant’s beginning really even achievable (or particularly effective)? By the way, Jean, I’m not a “pharma shill,” just a mom with an interest in infectious diseases and epidemiology.

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  4. Chris
    January 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Jean:

    There were only twelve deaths, all of Hispanic newborns. Statistically, most of them caught the disease from appropriately vaccinated individuals.

    You really need to provide a citation for both parts of that sentence. We also now know that that more frequent boosters are needed for pertussis, so the definition of “appropriate” is changing.

    I can’t believe that all the babies who died in the USA were of one cultural heritage. And why does it matter that the children were “Hispanic”? Does that mean that any person with a Spanish last name is less important than one with a non-Spanish last name, even if that “Hispanic” family had been in California since it was a Spanish colony? What about someone whose family came from Portugal to Monterey as whalers and fishermen in the mid-1900s? Do they count? (note: former Army brat who has lived in South and Central America, plus Pacific Grove and Ft. Ord, CA which has a legacy of cultures)

    Now this is fun:

    The only way to have protected them from catching the disease would have been quarantining them at home. Federal programs to facilitate keeping newborns at home with a single caregiver would do much more to protect all precious babies from dying of pertussis than pushing everyone to get frequent boosters of an often completely ineffective vaccine that remains very dangerous.

    How would that work? Since the father can get pertussis, do you keep him from seeing the mother and baby? So if the baby has older siblings, do you pack off mom and baby to a separate building and keep them from seeing both father and siblings for a year? How about getting groceries, dealing with diapers, and well baby check-up? Any adult who would come into contact could carry pertussis, so all the deliveries, pick-ups and contact with anyone else would have to be from a distance.

    Did you really think this through?

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  5. Lara Lohne
    January 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Jean sounds an awful lot like a cia parker sockie to me. Same argument about quarantining, same deranged opinion that death from disease is somehow preferable to the deaths she is speaking about, which she can’t know have or have not been directly linked to the vaccines, since VAERS data is only preliminary and we don’t know what the actual final outcome of the investigation is, except that when all the data collected from these VAERS reports is analyzed, we get the VIS telling us the likelihood (or more like unlikelihood) of an adverse event from the vaccine occurring.

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  6. Lawrence
    January 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    @lara – she sounds “exactly” like CIA parker.

    Like

  7. January 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Reblogged this on doctorforyou and commented:
    The importance of getting yourself vaccinated to protect those that can’t

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  8. lilady
    February 1, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I smell dirty socks here. It is CIA and those VAERS numbers are from the NVIC, which CIA and her sockies continually post.

    Like

  9. February 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    cant handle the truth…this site is going down

    Like

  10. February 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    @DrS – you are aware that making threats, even in cyberspace, is a crime, right?

    Even worse, we know exactly who you are & if this site is a target of a “denial of service” or other cyber-attack, I will have no problems reporting your threats and identity to the proper authorities.

    Otherwise, you’ve shown nothing but shear ignorance regarding actual biology, immunology and even the basic tenants of Science. Just go away.

    Like

  11. novalox
    February 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    @dr. s

    Hmm, making a threat online…

    You do know that it is a federal and international crime to make such threats, right?

    Like

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